Since we Americans feel the need to make everything "official" in order for it to truly be real (images of the Velveteen Rabbit just flashed through my mind), we've given ourselves permission, yea, verily even dictated that folks get grateful on this Thursday.
Thanks-giving has never been too difficult for me. I need no holiday to encourage me to look around a table at the bounty of friends who surround me -- the diversity of thought, culture, experience, humor, stories, beauty, grace -- and give thanks. "Blessed" sometimes feels like a word that's been hijacked by people with whom I no longer agree and I use it reluctantly because of those conotations but I truly feel blessed to be part of the God-given families of birth and choice in my life.
I am amazed at the life I've been fortunate enough to lead. While never knowing the extended belly poverty I've seen in parts of the world, I grew up very aware of my family's lack of wealth. Still, I never went hungry and the times I went "without" were few and far between. I complained the year I got a garage sale Barbie with homemade (actually crocheted, if you can picture that) clothes but, hey, I had one of those damn dolls, didn't I? And it sufficiently warped my psyche for years.
Today I travel. I know, enjoy, cook and delight in sharing good food with others. My home has people from all over the world enter its comfort. They may not have had their own bathroom or 350 count sheets ... they may not have even enjoyed a real bed ... but they were there, gifting me with their wisdom and tales of life journeys.
Today I know adventure. Each moment for me is precious. I've seen too many people leave this earth too early. I have no intention of wasting time. Some watch and wonder and quietly suggest that perhaps I should watch that proverbial candle-burning a bit more closely. But if there's a rock to climb, I'm climbing it; a river to cross, then I'm on the other side; a mountaintop to reach, then I'm there; I'm even good with a perfectly good plane to jump out of.
Today I love, I laugh, I cry, I experience freedom, I risk, I relish, I embrace, I enjoy. Today I'm definitely grateful.